What Kind of Society do We Want?
The answer is clear: we want a society that is ruled by the rich and powerful – a traditional society.
But who are the rich and powerful? Those in control of our large organizations – who are powerful, well-connected, and well-organized. The People, by contrast, are relatively poor, disorganized and easily manipulated – not much more than a mob. They are politely referred to as consumers.
As I already said, they want a return to a traditional society, where someone else will take care of them. The comparison to the infantile state is irresistible.
What drew me to these cheerful conclusions this morning? A consideration of how our Federal Government works. I am learning UML (Uniform Modeling Language) a visual way of representing how groups of people interact. To do this, you have to know who the players are and how they interact. The who question is the most interesting.
In a representative democracy, which is what we are supposed to have, the answer would be relatively simple: Congress, the Administration, and the Courts. These are supposed to serve at the pleasure of the people. And the people are supposed to have a good idea of how well they are doing their job. This is clearly not the case – for the simple reason that the most powerful players are those holding the money bags. Everybody serves at their pleasure.
Someone like me, who wants to model what is going on, has to include them very prominently. The question is: how?
It’s hard enough to model Congress, with all its unwritten rules and power structures, because Congress doesn’t want the public to know how it really works. This is only for insiders to know, and of course this includes the lobbyists, who make it their business to know how it really works – and make sure no one else knows. In this case, Knowledge is clearly Power with a capital P.
The most direct route to power is clearly by controlling how these people are elected – and making sure they realize this. If they want to stay in business, they have to pay the piper and dance his tune.
A model of how this all works would still include the people, because they can still vote – but would show how Money controls how they vote – mainly through TV ads. This would be difficult to model because it is a subtle process. Obama, for example, was carefully nurtured by them, as an up-and-coming young man who could go places – with the right people behind him. He hasn’t disappointed them, because he in identifies with them completely. Clinton was much the same, and saw to it that the Democratic Party switched sides and worked for them.
But I don’t want to lose sight of my original question: “What kind of society do we want?” The word that needs to be looked at closely here is we.
We now assume that this we is a society ruled from the top. America has changed, but is completely unaware of this change, since it happened slowly, over more than a century – and Americans have short memories.